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Empowering Christians to grow

Thought provoking: Reverend Sharon Prentis will be talking about hope, the sanctity of everyday life and what it means to know God (Photograph supplied)

The Reverend Anthony Pettit spent years searching for a way to educate and train residents in various aspects of Christian ministry.

He wanted to give lay ministers, especially those within the Anglican Church of Bermuda, an opportunity to develop theological knowledge and practical skills, as well as the ability to speak boldly of the things of God.

Thanks to a formal affiliation with St Mellitus College in London that goal has been made a reality.

“I’m excited about it because it suddenly makes possible a type of ministry education and training that fits Bermuda,” said Mr Pettit, the rector of St Paul’s Church in Paget.

“Through St Mellitus, these students are able to shape their study of theology in a Bermudianised way and that gives the church much better opportunity to speak to locals. Half the lectures in this two-year course will be delivered to us from St Mellitus College by video and the other half will be taught here in Bermuda by locally based ministers. The programme is for a range of ministries so there are different approaches to the materials people will study.”

Mr Pettit was hoping at least five people would register when the course launched last month; 13 signed up.

“It’s superb,” he said. “We have a really interesting group of folk who come for all sorts of reasons. We have people there who want to grow in their Christian ministry; they might be a Sunday school teacher or church administrator but want their grounding in theology and an understanding of how that knowledge applies to their ministry.”

The Reverend Sharon Prentis, of St Mellitus College, will be on island for the programme’s official commencement this weekend. As part of that, she will give three lectures at St Paul’s Church on Middle Road.

“I will be talking about hope, the sanctity of everyday life and what it means to know God,” she said.

“In this chaotic and ever-changing world, I will look at what it means to live a life of hope. My desire is that the talks will enable people to reconnect with the wonderful, good news message of the Gospel.”

Dr Prentis worked in a variety of Christian organisations in the UK before becoming a university lecturer.

“Working at St Mellitus brings together my love of people, my passion for teaching and a great desire to empower other Christians to grow into the people God intended them to be,” she said. “I am looking forward to being part of a working partnership between St Mellitus and the team at the Anglican Church of Bermuda led by Rev Anthony Pettit. My hope is to support people in Bermuda with theological programmes similar to those we offer at St Mellitus.”

Dr Prentis said she is intrigued by Bermuda’s rich association with the Christian faith. The overall aim of the course is to help people discover more about their faith and seek greater understanding through a dynamic theological study.

“I hope students here will grow in the ability to reflect upon their faith and for theology not to be merely an intellectual pursuit, but something that will impact their everyday lives,” she said.

“My hope for all of us, including myself, is that through the study of theology we can come to understand God more and the nature of His Kingdom.”

Inspired Souls: Reflections on Saints and Holy People from Around the World, starts today at 11am at St Paul’s Christian Education Centre. Come As We Are will look at some of the world’s challenges including nationalism as a reaction to mass migration, terrorism and growing social and economic inequality and how the church should respond, at 2pm.

Rev Dr Prentis’s final lecture, Surprised by Hope, kicks off tomorrow at 4pm at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Church Street in Hamilton. There, she will discuss what it means to live with an awareness of finding God every day in unexpected people and places. For more on the Bermuda-St Mellitus affiliation e-mail training@anglican.bm.